Pinturault wins Yuzawa Naeba Giant Slalom
The Japanese resort Yuzawa Naeba can be proud of its comeback to the World Cup circuit. After a challenging week with more than a meter fresh snow, the course was in a perfect shape for the first Audi FIS Ski World Cup race in Japan since 10 years.
In second place after the first run, Alexis Pinturault (FRA) skied a very strong second run and claimed the win +0.51 ahead of teammate Mathieu Faivre and +0.67 of Massimiliano Blardone (ITA).
This is Pinturault's second win of the season, after the Alpine Combined in Kitzbuehel. To win in a giant slalom is special for the 25 year-old athlete, especially on this kind of hill.
"The race today was not easy," said Pinturault. "It was really difficult to attack and control because some gates were quite bumpy in the second run. Some gates you have to control and some gates you have to attack so you really have to be smart." Today, Pinturault earned his 30th career podium finish.
Faivre, a 24 year-old giant slalom specialist, grabbed his first career podium today. "I'm very happy about my first World Cup podium," said Faivre. "I've had a good season so far with a lot of top tens. I've been getting closer and closer and today, I am on the podium." With this strong performance, Faivre takes is now in third place in the giant slalom season standings.
The biggest surprise of the day came from Blardone. At 37, the Italian is one of the most experienced on the World Cup circuit. "For me, it was a special day today" said Blardone. "I am extremely happy. I've worked very hard to reach this podium. I want to dedicate this to my two kids and thank them for their support. What made the difference today was my experience. In this race, you needed to know at which points to hold back and at what point you can let go."
Tomorrow, a Slalom will be staged in Yuzawa Naeba, starting at 10.00/13.00 LOC (02.00/05.00 CET).